#F1 Daily News and Comment: Thursday 27th November 2014

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Previously on The Judge 13:

#TJ13 #F1 Courtroom Podcast: Romanians in the cupboard

#F1 Forensics: Mercedes ends the season dominating


Toro Rosso ditch JEV

What could have been…or still might be

Boullier states ‘No panic’ after disastrous Honda test debut

Vettel to take Italian language lessons – report

Urgent EU investigation under way into legality of Formula One governance

Black and White? How about 50 shades of Grey?

Lewis in the doghouse


Toro Rosso ditch JEV

This is hardly breaking news that will shock and surprise the F1 world, as the Red Bull B Team confirmed they will be parting ways with the somewhat unfortunate Jean-Eric Vergne. The clear policy of driver rotation was implemented as JEV was disposed of after what has been his most successful season in the sport so far.

Though Bernie has affirmed his belief that social media is a flash in the pan once again, likeable Frenchman broke the news to his followers on Twitter that he would not be competing in Formula One next season. The likelihood now is that we will see a repeat of 2012, Vergne’s rookie season in the sport, where we saw Ricciardo line-up next to him to make an all new pairing in Faenza.

Carlos Sainz Jr. from Madrid, is hotly tipped to be stepping into the firing line next year, partnering the 17 year old Max Verstappen. Sainz Jr., 20, is currently testing for Red Bull in Abu Dhabi as he is set to be broken into the world of Formula One. It seems once more that Franz Tost’s opinion has been discarded, given it was he who spoke at great length about his preference to have an experienced driver in the team next year.

So, it is the Madrid born driver, who appears to be the one who will start his career in F1 for Torro Rosso in 2015, after winning the Formula Renault 3.5 title this year, driving for DAMS and taking 7 poles, 7 race wins and 6 fastest laps from 17 opportunities.

Following his 54 laps for Lotus in the Abu Dhabi test, Alex Lynn commented. “My Toro Rosso chances are looking less and less but I’ve come to terms with the fact that the whole situation of trying to get to Formula One is very difficult so I’m just going to work my arse off to get in and make the most of the opportunities like this.”

Alex Lynn will be forced to battle it out elsewhere for the time being, as his GP3 title in 2014 and Macau GP victory in 2013 looks to be insufficient to secure a full-time F1 drive. However, time is short, because at 21 he is positively aged when compared to a number of the drivers lining up next year.

With Sainz Jr signed, the four Red Bull backed F1 drivers will have an average age of just 20.5 years old, when the grid is formed in for the first race in Melbourne, 2015.

Who says F1 is all about experience?

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What could have been…or still might be

Pictures hit the internet last night of the Marussia Formula One entrant for 2015 , had the team not met their untimely demise. The former Russina backed team’s swansong in Russia was not spectacular, and subsequently, the team did not make it to Austin, Interlagos or Yas Marina season finale.

Marussia 1

Marussia 2

Marussia 3

Marussia 4

The pictures above, are from racecar-engineering.com, show the work to date that Marussia have put in for 2015. The Manor MNR1-Ferrari resembles the 2014 design, which demonstrates the shortage of resources available, though the release of these images, is likely an attempt to persuade any last minute buyers, there is still time to be ready to go racing in Australia – March 2015.

As for the Caterham design, it would be no surprise to see it pop next year, as a new team based in Germany – by the name of Forza Rossa.

That said, Finbar O’Connell did reveal following the substantial number of complaints and accusations against the Caterham-Kolles temporary management regime, he would be forced to investigate whether their tenure had been one of appropriate stewardship and presumably without illegal asset stripping activity.

Yet the reality is, were O’Connell to discover illegal practices and treatment of staff contracts and theft of intellectual property, there is little the authorities can do – due to the residence status of those appointed as statutory directors of the Caterham company – following Fernandes departure.

This however, should these allegations be found to be true, money talks and the creditors of the team are less likely to be concerned where the funds are derived to mitigate their losses.

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Boullier states ‘No panic’ after disastrous Honda test debut

Before departing Abu Dhabi, boss Eric Boullier told Spanish television Movistar the British team has “no reason to panic”. However, this week has seen a fairly disastrous two test days at the Yas Marina circuit for McLaren. They brought an interim 2014 car to the post-race test – fitted with the brand new Honda ‘power unit’, as the partners prepare for the beginning of their ‘works team’ collaboration in 2015.

It is expected that Fernando Alonso will be the star driver.

But at the test, it was the in-house youngster Stoffel Vandoorne charged with driving duties. Over two days, the Belgian did not complete a single timed lap. Honda’s F1 chief Yasuhisa Arai, however, insisted he is not worried.

“The positive is that we know that basically everything works as it should,” he told Speed Week. “The energy recovery works. What did not work is the electronics. But I maintain that the engine itself is good,” the Japanese added.

“These power units are incredibly complex,” Arai continued. “We need to find out in detail what went wrong, but that is the job of the engineer — to solve problems.”

Officially, the next time the Honda engine will be run on track is next February at the Jerez test, mere weeks before the performance specification is ‘frozen’ for the 2015 season by the governing FIA. But Speed Week said it is possible the interim car will be run before the official winter test season, during another ‘filming day’.

Arai continued: “We believe we have done our homework and the hardware is healthy. Four months until Australia will be enough to be fit for the season. We strive to have a good place on the grid in Melbourne.” 

(GMM)

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Vettel to take Italian language lessons – report

Sebastian Vettel will take private lessons in Italian as he gets up to speed with life at Ferrari. After racing a Red Bull for the last time last Sunday, the German stayed in Abu Dhabi for the post-race test and appeared in the Ferrari garage in plain clothing.

As he is still under contract to the energy drink company for the rest of 2014, Red Bull’s Dr Helmut Marko said the appearance was “legally not ok but I couldn’t care less“.

That might be because Red Bull went back on an earlier pledge to Vettel that he be allowed to drive the 2014 Ferrari this week in Abu Dhabi. “Two weeks ago, everything was clear,” Vettel is quoted by Italy’s Tuttosport. “Then Adrian Newey said no.”

Marko explained to the Swiss newspaper Blick: “When Vettel asked me if he could test the Ferrari in Abu Dhabi, I said ok but that I would have to ask the engineers. They (the engineers) all complained!” Vettel’s first lap as a Ferrari driver is now expected to be at Jerez next February, as the 2015 winter tests kick off.

Until then, the quadruple world champion will be taking lessons in Italian, according to the sports daily La Gazzetta dello Sport. “Language is very important to me,” said the German, “so I want to understand everyone at Ferrari as well as I can.”

Vettel already speaks some Italian, after making his F1 debut in 2007 and 2008 with the Faenza based junior Red Bull team Toro Rosso.

(GMM)

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Urgent EU investigation under way into legality of Formula One governance

As the Formula One world eagerly anticipated the ‘duel in the desert weekend ahead, TJ13 feature, “F1 and European Article 82”, revealed last week, that the EU Commission has been petitioned to urgently examine the legitimacy of Formula One’s governance.

Amongst other rulings, the above article detailed a ruling made by the EU Commission on Formula One governance back in 2001. The then arrangements were deemed to be illegal and future governance must ensure that there was no influence or bias to be placed upon the regulator of Formula One, from potential vested commercial interests.

“The role of FIA will be limited to that of a sports regulator, with no commercial conflicts of interest”.

The potential floatation of the sport was to see the FIA acquire just over a 1% shareholding in the commercial rights, however, the accounts of Delta Topco reveal that this share-holding was in fact granted to the FIA in January 2014.

More importantly, the newly formed F1 Strategy Group and the F1 commission which decide which regulation recommendations – both sporting and technical – are presented to the World Motor Sport Council for ratification, include both the regulatory body and the commercial rights holder in a constitutional voting system.

As TJ13 reported last Saturday, Anneliese Dodds of the UK Labour Party has written to the EU Commission’s competition arm in Brussells, expressing her concern over the legitimacy of the current governance structures within Formula One. She has since received confirmation that the commission will examine with some urgency her allegations.

The case appears cut and dry, that the 2001 EU ruling has been breached by the current structures for regulation Formula One. Further, the post Concorde agreements certain teams claim were forced upon them, appear to have been contrived by agreement amongst more powerful teams and the commercial rights holder – which is argued to be a ‘Cartel’.

The consequences of breaching the EU’s 2001 were made clear at the time. One such sanction could see the legal claim to the commercial rights to Formula One, stripped away from the current holder – once again.

Interestingly, CVC has in recent years sold around half of its share holding in the Formula One commercial rights, presumably anticipating potential problems which would see the EU intervene and their investment revoked.

TJ13 would urge all its readers to follow this link to Anneliese Dodds contact page and register your dissatisfaction or otherwise with F1’s current governance. Start you message with “Re: F1 Governance from a TJ13 reader” – this will help Ms Dodds’ assistants to group quickly and easily the responses.

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Black and White? How about 50 shades of Grey?

It was Adrian Newey who was questioned on ‘the spirit of the regulations’ some years back.

His reaction was telling.

A smile curled across Newey’s usually serious face and he replied by enquiring as to the meaning of the questioner’s terminology.

Newey cleverly implied that Formula One regulations are objective – and that is what mattered – or so it seemed.

Following Red Bulls exclusion from qualifying in Abu Dhabi, Adrian and the aero team at Milton Keynes appear to be confused with, shall we say – 50 shades of grey.  After the RB10 failed the front wing deflection test – by utilising a banned adjustable mechanical component.

declared instinctively, that Red Bull were not the only ones up to such trickery, but there were other teams also using such flexible front wings too.

The more a front wing can be made to ‘flex’ the advantages are two fold. Increased down force when cornering whilst it ‘fails’ on the straights to allow reduced drag.

Back in 2011, the Red Bull car was consistently one of the slowest in a straight line, despite being one of the quickest in qualifying. A Red Bull car failed to achieve pole position that year only once.

Jump forward two years to the 2013 season, and the start of the post summer shut down races which saw an incredibly dominant RB9 in the hands of Vettel, who achieved 9 victories in a row,

Red Bull brought an entirely new front wing to the Monza weekend.  Vettel was 14th quickest through the speed traps that weekend, clocking 335.6 kph, as Daniel Ricciardo clocked 339.9 kph (excluding the anomalous result of Esteban Gutierrez who set his speed at the end of the race on brand new rubber).  Many were shocked at how this advantage came from a seemingly high down force car, at a circuit suiting a low drag slippery creation.

Red Bull began that weekend with a top speed of 328 kph clocked a speed during the race that was 7 kph quicker – which would have required a far greater increase in output from the Renault engine than was available.

At the Hungarian GP this year, much was made of the RB10’s front wing’s flexibility, and a slightly smug Horner told the media, “There haven’t been many bits they haven’t complained about, I suppose there is always the paint colour, or something like that.

A lot of fuss has been made about the front wing – this week it is the front wing, last week it was the diffuser, the week before it was the suspension, the week before that it was active ride height.

At the end of the day we are very happy that the car complies with the regulations and the tests that the FIA have carried out. The car is in compliance with the regulations, and I think the technical team should take it is a compliment when others are questioning the legality.”

In Abu Dhabi, Christian “Save your own skin at all costs by deflecting the issue” Horner claimed that Red Bull’s closest competitor – Williams – also had a ‘ front wing which deflected ‘excessively’.

When questioned on the topic, Williams Head of Performance, Rob Smedley, said, “I think the FIA tested quite a few front wing flaps, certainly ours was tested, and it was passed as being legal. We had conversations with the FIA over the weekend, and in the end they were content with what we were doing, that we weren’t infringing the regulations.

Yet there are a number of unanswered questions. Was this a setup? What would happen had a number of other teams been disqualified from qualifying?

Would we have seen a pack of chasing dogs released from the pit lane after the field had passed during the race start on Sunday?

Furthermore, was the decision taken that there is a limit to flexibility and that the RB wing must therefore now not exceed a certain amount?

After all, it was the Red Bull camp which made reference to how subjective the tests had been, undermining the belief that the FIA tests are uniform, competent and objective.

Smedley continued, “What other teams are doing I can’t really comment on, but certainly we had a legal car.

I am sure Horner’s correct that all teams are pushing, it just all depends on how far you are going to push doesn’t it? There’s a set of technical regulations, there’s a very clear article that you can’t have moveable aerodynamic devices on the car – article 3.15.

So here’s another story from the current confused world of Formula One, which is clear as mud for the normal fans to understand.

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Lewis in the doghouse

It seems that even when on top of the world the smallest thing can catch you off guard, as Lewis Hamilton this morning made an appearance on the BBC Radio 1 breakfast show.  He raced host, Nick Grimshaw, in the ‘Radio 1 GP’ with James Allen commentating and Lee McKenzie being the reporter.  The Briton seemed relaxed as he talked about how it felt to be the 2014 World Champion.

However, he did make the slight error of not recognising his long-time girlfriend’s song when a short clip was played.  The song Scream was a collaboration between Sherzinger, Keri Hilson and American rapper Timbaland – even worse the fact he knew it was Timbaland he could hear!

Startled by his error, Hamilton said, “I can’t believe you did that to me. I’m going to get it when I get home.” Then Lewis made an attempt to cover his back as he stated. “The worst thing is that was a great song. We weren’t together when she did that song.

Well Lewis, that’s not difficult. You and Sherzy have been on and off more times than and Israeli – Palestinian peace agreement.

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41 responses to “#F1 Daily News and Comment: Thursday 27th November 2014

  1. Only now after Vettel’s language lessons, I understand those Samurai references from Alonso! It stared us right in the face for how long?

  2. Good to see it’s not just the oh so trustworthy Boullier claiming the Honda program is (more or less) on track.

  3. Can I urge everyone to go to Annaliese Dodds web page and use the contact us form or the email supplied on the ‘contact’ section to let her know just how many ordinary fans are upset about the way F1 is being run. The more people who do this the more she will realize just how much of an issue there is. I’ve sent my 2 penny worth to her, please take a few seconds to send her your views and concerns.

    • she probably already realised it, that’s why she launched a complaint. she also realised the implications for those whose livelyhoods depend on teams not going bancrupt. that’s why she launched a complaint.

      as someone who has some insight into the european parliament, rest assured that parliamentarians are already getting more than enough emails. the only thing you will achieve is frustrating her poor assistants, whose inbox will be flooded and who will have to read and answer all those mails on top of the million other things they have to do.

      if anything, you will have to write to the commission to make sure they take the complaint seriously.but i’m sure that they are. the commission is very thorough when it comes to competition issues.

      • She will be happy to receive communications clearly and appropriately marked – so they can be filed quickly and easily – and this will add further weight to her complaint.

          • 21.000 Euro a month doesn’t make for that big of a staff. Anyways, my point was, that I’m pretty sure that Dodds aswell as the Commission are already taking the matter very serious and don’t need further encouragement. I’d rather write to the FIA, I think that is where people need a wake up call.

      • She is an MEP, last time I checked it means that she represents the interests of the British public. How would she know just how much support her action has if nobody tells her. I’m not saying write an email that is pages long, just a short message of agreement, if enough people do this it will send a clear message that the fans support any actions that will help keep the smaller teams alive and possibly expand the current grid, which can only be a good thing.

  4. Hmmmm…. My understanding of the wings is that RB failed because the wing adjust mechanism had a spring in it that would release the element and stall the wing at high speed, thereby reducing straight line drag.

    The other teams wings do flex under load (as does everything) but until they sort a dynamic test no other teams wing did what RB’s did, hence they passed.

    • But look back at the questions that were asked about double DRS, which was then subsequently allowed. Or even better, looked at the FRIC braking system which was all of sudden outlawed…the FIA do what they like, when they like.

      • I think the difference was everyone knew about those systems, there was no deliebrate attempt to hide those systems, where as RebBull knew exactly what they were doing and were trying to hide it.

    • The other teams wings do flex under load

      Indeed they do – which is why there is a question about where the line is drawn, and why the FIA defined tests for acceptable flex – and reserved the right to test differently if they thought they were being gamed.

      However in this case, as you point out, the flap is attached to the rest of the wing by a discrete element, which apparently contains a mechanism to release it at speed.

      FIA
      3.15 Aerodynamic influence :
      With the exception of the driver adjustable bodywork described in Article 3.18 (in addition to minimal parts solely associated with its actuation) and the ducts described in Article 11.4, any specific part of the car influencing its aerodynamic performance :
      a) Must comply with the rules relating to bodywork.
      b) Must be rigidly secured to the entirely sprung part of the car (rigidly secured means not having any degree of freedom).
      c) Must remain immobile in relation to the sprung part of the car….

      It’s seems to me that RB knew full well that their device would be ruled illegal – this isn’t anything to do with a ‘degree of flex’; it’s a device designed to be rigid when stationary and switch to being extremely flexible above a certain speed – and that explains why they went to the effort of disguising it.

      If you think I’m wrong, please explain how this doesn’t contravene 3.18(b).

      • It’s an interesting point raised in the article about how long Red Bull might have been doing something like this.

        We went from them being bad at Monza (2010), with huge downforce but no straight line speed, to Vettel gearing for acceleration and zipping away from everyone on the straights, thus dominating on a low downforce track, while carrying a Renault engine and RB downforce!

        Toro Rosso show that the speed is there, but only if you dial for low downforce, thus they are never near the front overall. Getting both sounds like you are running the wing from a Chapparal 2F!

  5. @adamac39 yes they often do, but they have been fairly consistent about all the stalling systems, and the spring and the fact that it moves under load actually fits in with ban on FRIC and mass dampers. They also outlawed the McLaren system that everyone copied after one season as well,which was much less provocative.

    Of all the ones mentioned, RB’S FW most egregious IMO.

  6. Matlock49g,
    Nice sentiment, but I’m fairly certain TJ13 is British. No Thanksgiving Day in UK.
    Be thankful for his blog by sending Annaliese Dodds a note as he has nicely asked his readers to do.
    And enjoy your holiday. Feast well.

  7. Off topic:

    I don’t know if it was commented before, I saw this during the Abu Dhabi GP and forgot about it until now. Did any of you notice the marshals crossing the track with local yellow flags in Abu Dhabi to extinguish the fire in Maldonado’s car? That has to be wrong, right?

    • Hulk, Alonso and Vergne – that would be a great team! And miles ahead of Webber/Hartley.. but I imagine some Porsche GT drivers will get a look in for the other seats.

      • In German media it has been reported since mid-October that the third Porsche is supposed to be an “F1 Car”. The names mentioned most often are Hulkenberg, Alonso and Button as a sort of ‘F1 dream team’.

  8. Just read this post race write-up by the F1 Photographer Darren Heath as I do after most races – http://www.darrenheath.com/blog/fools-paradise

    He has some pretty damning words for Vettel on the subject of Ferrari. Not sure I agree with him though as I can see some positive changes made at Ferrari recently, though the reasons behind the firing of Mattiacci is completely beyond me. However the turn around is probably going to take a minimum of 2-3 years in my opinion, and whether Seb will be able to pull off a championship with them against the competition is another matter.

    Be good to get others’ thoughts on this.

    • I think Heath is a bit too heavy with the digging at Seb, the guy can have a dream can’t he? If it’s his boyhood ambition to win a championship with Ferrari, who are we to stop him trying if that’s what he really wants. In 50 years time the record books will show him as a great of the sport, not even with the most dominant car in history, that accolade goes to the W05Hybrid, so Vettel will leave a huge legacy even if he stopped tomorrow, it is not for us to criticize, we have to remember Sebastian has been working towards this drive since he 1st started karting so 20years ago, this is not just a sport to him, it’s a life’s work (as with most #F1 drivers), the guy gets my fullest respect simply for the dedication he has has to show to simply get to this point, where he has the chance to fulfil and realize that dream he has held so tightly to.

      As for Ferrari, it’s pretty much spot on……..

      • I am not really a Vettel supporter, I don’t dislike him, but I’m not sat rooting for the guy during the race. I do however understand the level of respect he deserves for his achievements. All raceing drivers that can earn a living from there passion and skill deserve a reasonable level of respect for their dedication and hard work, even if as a personality you find the them most unlikable human being you ever came across.

  9. Scream, one of my timbaland favourites! Never knew it was Nicole either. A voice is a mere instrument in Timbaland productions.

    But if I were Hamilton, I would spend some 300.000 at the juwelers’ before goin home.

    • Hamilton has also said he may be doing some recording of his own over the winter. Imagine a Lewis and Nicole collaboration…..they could be called Nicolewis…..actually on second thoughts, people may get confused by that name

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